Christmas spirit comes in a box
Santa was still taking off his boots at home by the time the first volunteers arrived at First Baptist Church of Hudson to begin cooking Wednesday.
About 4 a.m. they started work in the kitchen of the church’s Christian Life Center to cook food that included 36 turkey hams, six chicken breasts, 60 gallons of yams, 54 gallons of green beans, 54 gallons of corn and 130 cans of cranberry sauce. They prepared 1,500 deviled eggs and sliced 90 cakes prepared by the ladies of the church.
A little more than six hours after they started, the life center was a scene of something in between order and chaos as volunteers in an assembly line passed down foam lunch box after foam lunch box to be filled for delivery to homes and workplaces across the county – to anyone who had called and asked for a Christmas lunch. As quickly as they were completed, other volunteers carried them for loading into large cardboard boxes, which in turn were carried out for loading into a waiting caravan of cars and vans.
Typical of the more than 40 volunteers running delivery duty in teams was George Carroll, who has participated all five years that the church has been running its Christmas lunch service. Wednesday he ran 22 meals to about a half dozen places.
Though the church delivers meals to anyone who asks, the ones that stand out to the volunteers are the people who couldn’t get the meal themselves.
“When you get into something like this you realize how many people need help,” Carroll said. “You see a lot of the handicapped and bedridden. … It would be nice if we could do a lot more of this.”
The church has been doing more each year. When the Christmas lunch started five years ago, it served a total of 250 meals between the deliveries and those served to people who came to the life center. Last year, it served more than 1,000. This year, the volunteers made enough food for 1,200 and served more than 1,100, including 581 that were delivered, said Don Austin, one of the organizers. Delivered meals involved not only the preparation and boxing of the food but the organizing of the deliveries into efficient routes.
“It’s a hard project," Austin said, "but it’s well worth it.”